A suspected large-scale illegal marijuana growing and Butane Hash Oil operation in Ferndale was busted earlier this week by the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Around noon Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at 5249 Imhoff Road and discovered around 200 mature marijuana plants, 22.5 pounds of processed marijuana, approximately 44 pounds of marijuana leaves and stems and 5.11 pounds of Butane Hash Oil, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Deputies also seized three commercial-grade ovens, around 20 vials of suspected anabolic steroids and an Acura MDX, authorities said.
Along with the grow operation, investigators discovered a commercial-grade Butane Hash Oil extraction lab. After marijuana buds are harvested, the rest of the plant is used in the BHO extraction process, the news release indicated.
Since the legalization of marijuana in the state, illegal BHO operations have increased, according to the release. The extraction labs can be extremely hazardous because of flammable gases and risk of explosion, authorities said.
Prior to serving the warrant, the sheriff’s office checked with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to find out whether the operation had a recreational license or was a registered community garden used for production. According to the sheriff’s office, investigators were informed the operation was illegal.
No arrests had been made as of Thursday afternoon, but “arrests are expected,” the release said.
The Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office, Whatcom County Health Department, Ferndale Police Department and Washington State Patrol assisted with the investigation.
Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office at 360-778-6663.